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New US aid to Ukraine will not include weapon requested by kyiv – Politico


The United States will not include the coveted M1 Abrams main battle tanks in the major Ukraine aid package to be announced this week, Politico magazine reported on Wednesday, citing three US officials and another person close to the case.

Kyiv had included the Abrams on its 2023 “wish list” late last month, as Ukrainian officials sought heavier weapons from the West for its conflict with Russia. Ukraine’s allies are meeting at the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday.

The United States is reluctant to supply these particular tanks due to “the logistical and maintenance challenges of the tanks, not the fear that their transfer could escalate the conflict”, a US official was quoted as saying.

The Associated Press quoted US officials as saying Thursday that Washington would likely pledge up to $2.6 billion in additional military aid to Ukraine this week. The package is expected to include – for the first time – around 100 Strykers and at least 50 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, according to the report.

The United States unveiled a plan to supply Bradley vehicles earlier this month. “To enable the Ukrainians to break through given the Russian defences, the focus has been on enabling them to combine fire and maneuver in a way that will prove most effective,” US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said on Wednesday, as quoted by AP.

On Monday, Britain promised to provide Ukraine with a squadron of Challenger 2 tanks and “hundreds” of armored vehicles, including Bulldog personnel carriers. Germany, meanwhile, has pledged to supply Kyiv with Marder armored vehicles, while France has said it will send AMX-10 RC vehicles, also described as wheeled light tanks.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Western tanks would only “burn” in Ukraine and not change the outcome of the conflict. Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the United States, meanwhile accused Washington of pursuing a “dangerous course” by continuing to send arms.

The Russian Embassy in Berlin argued that Germany had only agreed to send Marders “under significant pressure from Washington.”

Moscow has accused the West of prioritizing “flood” of Ukraine with weapons instead of focusing on a peaceful solution. “The West is using Ukraine to destroy the security system that has existed in the Europe-Atlantic region for many years,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

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